- Christopher & Banks president and CEO Keri Jones is leaving the apparel retailer, effective Friday, according to a securities filing.
- Her resignation comes a little more than two weeks after Christopher & Banks sold its e-commerce business to an affiliate of Hilco Merchant Resources. Hilco has tapped iMedia Brands to run the online version of Christopher & Banks as well as launch a new shopping program on its television network.
- Christopher & Banks filed for bankruptcy earlier this year with a plan to wind down its brick-and-mortar business and sell its digital unit.
Jones joined Christopher & Banks in 2018 after runs at Dick's Sporting Goods and Target as an executive with a background in merchandising and supply chain.
On joining, Jones said she would work to "build upon the current momentum and drive the Company to consistent profitability." Going into 2020, Christopher & Banks was posting positive comparable sales and higher margins.
COVID-19 changed everything for the company and the retail world at large. The pandemic hit right at the heart of Christopher & Banks' business.
"The Christopher & Banks customer is a practical, middle-aged Midwestern woman who largely buys apparel for specific events, whether it be going to the movies, out to dinner, holiday parties or other social gatherings," Jones said in early December, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "In the absence of these types of social engagements during COVID, her demand for outfitting is simply lower."
At the time it filed, the company kept its options open but acknowledged that finding a buyer for some portion of its roughly 450 physical stores was likely not possible. While it pursued a sale of its e-commerce business, the retailer started the process of liquidating its store footprint.
With stores closing and the digital business now in the hands of Hilco and ran by iMedia, a change in leadership comes as no surprise.
iMedia has its own plans for Christopher & Banks. The television retail specialist said in a press release earlier this month it plans to launch a new weekly Christopher & Banks television program on ShopHQ, its flagship TV network.
iMedia also plans to promote Christopher & Banks' website and its only two retail stores (in Missouri and Minnesota) and launch an interactive video platform dubbed "Christopher & Banks Stylists" that features customized wardrobe outfitting by a Christopher & Banks' stylist.